The national capital has emerged as a hotspot of COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory coronavirus syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or simply coronavirus. However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government submitted to Delhi High Court justices that it would not introduce night curfews in response to an earlier inquiry by the High Court as to whether such a measure would be imposed.
Last month, government think tank Niti Aayog described Delhi’s COVID-19 situation as “unprecedented” and likely to worsen. To make matters worse, the national capital is battling an air pollution crisis which has exacerbated its COVID-19 crisis.
The health effects of breathing polluted air are manifold. National quarantine did lead to cleaner skies earlier in the pandemic, but toxic air has since returned with a vengeance. November 2020 year saw residents of the national capital breathe more polluted air than in November 2020. Indeed, the day after Diwali saw Delhi’s worst air quality in four years.
Stubble burning in neighbouring states has been pinpointed as a driver of Delhi’s poor air quality. State health minister Satyender Jain said that the practice and resultant pollution influenced Delhi’s “third wave” of coronavirus. Thursday saw a “very poor” reading on the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi. This reading is expected to remain as such for at least the next two days – highlighting the need for
The state government has won some praise for its efforts in tackling COVID-19, however. A Hindustan Times report queried whether Delhi was on the “right track” in battling COVID-19. It noted increased and improved testing; cases beginning to decline; a falling positivity rate; and fewer deaths. On Wednesday, Jain said that the positivity rate in Delhi has fallen by a margin of almost 55 percent since early November. He anticipates a further reduction in the next fortnight.